Frequently Asked Questions

I have a question about courses

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes! Payment in monthly instalments is standard for all of our courses. Depending on your course, you can spread the course fees across 3-6 monthly instalments, which we will collect via Direct Debit. The first instalment payment tends to be a larger sum, followed by a number of smaller payments.

When do the courses start and finish?

We run courses throughout the year and we advertise start and end dates for upcoming courses on the individual course pages of our website. If your selected course is full or not running, we will put you on a waiting list and contact you when the course is running.

Are there any exams?

All of our courses are accredited by Signature or IBSL, so you are required to sit an exam in order to receive the qualification. For the Level 1 BSL and Level 2 BSL courses, there are no written exams. There are written exams for all Level 3 courses and above. You can opt out of the exam if you just wish to learn for fun, but you will not receive a qualification upon completion.

What if I can't attend the exam date?

All exams take place during normal classroom hours and so you are expected to make reasonable arrangements to ensure you can attend on the exam date. We might be able to accommodate a change of exam date with at least 6 weeks advanced notice. We are unable to accommodate any changes less than 6 weeks before the exam date. If you have to cancel an exam or if you miss an exam then further charges will be incurred for resits.

What qualification will I receive at the end?

You will receive a qualification accredited by Signature, the leading awarding body for BSL, Deafblind and Communication Support qualifications in the UK. Signature qualifications are recognised by a wide range of employers and training providers.

Can I attend a different class each week?

You must attend the same class each week and you will not be able to attend a class on different days. For example, if you decide to attend a Tuesday class then you must attend that class every Tuesday.

What happens if I miss a class?

If you have to miss a class, you should contact your teacher as soon as possible so they can update their attendance list. You should make arrangements with your teacher directly to catch up on work.

Who are the teachers?

Our teachers have extensive experience in the interpreting, translation and BSL training fields and we are industry leaders. All of our BSL teachers are native BSL users, hold a recognised teaching qualification and have extensive experience in teaching BSL. You can find out more about our teachers on the About Us page.

What will happen at the interview?

For some courses, you may need to meet qualifying criteria and attend an interview. When you attend the interview, you will be given a series of short tasks to complete and you will have the opportunity to meet with the teacher and ask any specific questions you have about the course. We will then contact you after the interview to inform you whether or not you have been successful in obtaining a place on the course.

What's included in the course fee?

The course fee includes the cost of room hire, a professional teacher and the Signature exam fees. We also offer a range of additional benefits for our students:

  • 10% Discount on Signworld Learn subscription
  • 10% Discount on Deafbooks products (including the Let's Sign series)
  • 10% Discount on Signature products, including Signature Homework
  • NUS Extra Card
  • Access to BSL First e-learning platform

What happens if I cannot continue with the course?

If you cannot continue with the course due to personal or work circumstances, you should consult the Extenuating Circumstances Policy in the Student Handbook to see if you qualify. You should notify your teacher as soon as possible as well as the main office. Please consult the Refund Policy to find out if you qualify for a refund.

What is the refund policy?

The deposit is always non-refundable. You are entitled to a full refund of the course fees (minus the deposit) if you withdraw within 14 days of starting the course. After 14 days, you will not be entitled to a refund unless you quality for extenuating circumstances as set out in our Extenuating Cirumstances Policy. You must agree to our Refund Policy when booking your place on the course.

I have a question about interpreting services

How do I know what kind of service I need?

Most of the time, the deaf service user will contact you to request a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. This is the most common type of service requested. If another service is required, the service user will normally advise you.

When you contact us, we will ask you lots of details about the booking. This is in order for us to be able to advise you about which service is the most appropriate for your needs.

How do I book a BSL interpreter?

Please contact us at or fill in our booking form online. Please give as much information about the event as possible including:

  • Date and times
  • Location
  • Number of total participants
  • Number of users of the service requested (e.g. deaf BSL users)
  • Details about the nature of the event (e.g. conference, meeting etc.)
  • The topic/subject content of the event

We will then be able to offer you a quote for the service requested.

What kind of information do I need to provide when I have booked an interpreter?

Any preparation materials in advance of the event are extremely helpful. Professional interpreters rely on this preparation material to make sure they can familiarise themselves with the subject content and to make sure that they can deliver the best possible service for you. Without any preparation, it makes the interpreter’s job much more difficult and will ultimately affect the quality of service you will receive.

Useful preparation materials include:

  • Agenda or running order
  • Scripts or notes of speeches
  • Abstracts of presentations
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Videos/podcasts that will be presented
  • Names of speakers and participants
  • Notes or minutes from previous meetings
  • Any particular dress code

If this is an Islamic booking, it is extremely important that you send us the scripts and presentation notes in advance so that we can prepare an appropriate translation of the Arabic into BSL.

How much do your services cost?

Our fees are in line with NUBSLI rates. We will offer you a quote based on the details you provide when booking an interpreter.

My event will be filmed or live streamed – do I need to inform the interpreters?

Yes, please! Interpreters take great pride in their work and need to prepare if they are going to be filmed or live streamed. Some interpreters may refuse to take the booking if they will be live streamed. The fee may also change to reflect the additional pressure on the interpreter of being live streamed or recorded.

Can I record the interpretation?

We do not allow recordings of the interpreters or interpretations for any purpose. You must ask the permission of individual interpreters before recording their work. In most cases, permission will be refused.

If you would like to record the interpreter because you would like to have a BSL translation of your website or conference proceedings, then you should book a qualified BSL translator (RSLT). This will ensure a high quality translation.

I am not expecting any deaf people to attend but I would like to book an interpreter anyway – what can I expect?

It is always good to have interpreters available so that your event is accessible to deaf BSL users. However, as interpreting requires talking to someone (i.e. a target audience), the interpreter(s) will not interpret the event if there is no target audience.

If there are no deaf BSL users requiring the interpreting service, the interpreters will wait on stand by in case someone arrives.

How many interpreters do I need?

Events over 1 hour in duration, conferences or technical meetings/training events will usually require 2 interpreters.

The interpreters will work together, supporting each other to ensure accuracy in the translation process. The interpreters will take 15 to 20 minutes shifts of active interpreting, while the other interpreter supports and monitors.

We will advise you how many interpreters you will need when you contact us with a booking request.

Where will the interpreters be positioned during the event?

The interpreters will work flexibly to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. It is important that the interpreter is directly facing the deaf BSL service user. In a meeting, this may be the opposite side of the table. For a conference or training event, it may be next to the presenter/speaker/trainer.

It is important to meet with the interpreter before the event starts to discuss arrangements for best positioning.

Will the interpreters be intrusive or interrupt the speakers?

The interpreter will try to be as least intrusive as possible – it is important to discuss positioning arrangements with the interpreter before the event.

The translation process is very difficult and requires immense concentration. The interpreter may therefore stop the speaker to clarify points, or to ask for repetition if they cannot hear the words clearly.

If the interpreter is working on stage, the interpreter may need in-ear headsets or an additional speaker set up so that they can clearly hear the speaker.

How can I give feedback about the interpreters?

Feedback about the quality of the interpretation and the professionalism of the service provided is highly valued and sought after. If you would like to offer any feedback about the interpreters after the event, please drop us an email.

If you are unhappy with the service provided, please contact us in the first instance. All our interpreters are registered with the NRCPD, so if you would like to make a formal complaint about an interpreter’s conduct or quality of work, please contact the NRCPD:

How can I arrange payment for interpreting services?

We will email you an invoice after the event with the agreed fee and payment details.

What if I need to cancel?

Our cancellation terms are in line with NUBSLI recommendations: 0-7 days notice: 100% cancellation fee 8-14 days notice: 50% cancellation fee 15+ days notice: no fee Please also refer to our terms and conditions for interpreting.

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